Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Toxic Male Need Not Be So Toxic

Norman working on Tough Guys Don't Dance

I'm not entirely sure where the term toxic male came from, but for sure it's a 21st century phenom. Used to be that a man who was proud of being a man was referred to as a rugged individualist. You know, like the Marlboro Man.

Hemingway fit into this category. Later on, during the turbulent 1960s, Norman Mailer, who was a Hemingway fan (he actually sent Papa a copy of his novel The Naked and the Dead, but Hemingway never responded), would espouse the fact that men and women are indeed, physiologically, emotionally, and biologically different.

He'd enter into heated debates with the likes of Gloria Steinem, while likening women's equality to that of the Civil Rights movement a la Dr. King (Not LBJ who's Great Society was a way to keep minorities on Welfare and therefore voting blue). In other words, if you wish to rise up and improve your lot in life, then by all means, do it as an individual. Prove yourself and your worth. Don't depend on any one politician or the government to do it on your behalf. No one deserves to be POTUS just because of their sex, for instance. 

Bi's and Tri's day...toxic masculinity or just plain living strong...

It's a dangerous time for men. Men are accused of sexual impropriety and all too often it's the accusation that counts, not the proof or lack thereof. Men who are considered macho or ummm "toxic" are seen as a relic of an unhinged past. Men should be more feminine and less traditionally male in attitude and approach. Boys are being taught and raised this way in our schools. In a word, men should apologize for being, well, male. This is not to say there aren't some serious creepers out there who deserve their time in the gulag for what they've done. Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, and Uma's ex-husband, Anthony Weiner come to mind. There are others of course.

But much like the women of this country are collectivizing for their right to do what they want with their bodies, their unborn babies, and their lives, men should not lose sight of the fact that it's okay to be a man. A strong man. I believe that deep down inside, women love strong men by their side rather than wimps. My gym, Planet Fitness, recently removed all the free weight benches from their facilities because they wish not to promote bulky, strong, men. This is, of course, as much fanatical bullshit as their refusal to broadcast FOX News on their many wall-hung televisions, choosing instead to play only the mainstream left leaning stations...CNN, MSNBC, PBS among them (the airports do this too). But then, it's their gym, they can do whatever the hell they want.

That's why I now work out mostly in my own home gym. I like pumping iron. It's not only awesome for the heart, the muscles, and the bones (especially for a middle-aged man who ain't getting any younger), but lifting free weights makes me feel strong and when I feel strong I feel like I can defend myself better, and defend anyone who I might be with at the time. As many of you already know, I was sucker punched by a total coward in a bar in Italy recently, and I swear, if not for my weight lifting regimen, I might have been seriously injured. This guy snuck up behind me, gave it everything he had, and I still walked away and enjoyed a couple drinks after. How's about them apples, coward?

Hemingway also loved to box, and on occasion he would lift weights. Mailer too loved to box and hit the weights when he could. These physical activities didn't make them toxic males, but it did make them quintessentially male. This maleness was reflected in their prose which dramatized characters who said what they meant, and meant what they said and who were willing to back it all up with their fists, if need be, even if it meant they got their ass kicked in the process. It made them rugged and it made them proud. Listen guys, there's nothing wrong with being a man's man, just like there's nothing wrong with respecting a woman and everything she stands for. We can coexist with who we are as a species, who we are as men and women, and as individuals.

As much as things are changing, and as much as the mainstream media gives one the impression that all the old chivalrous traditions are goin' bye bye, well, let me tell you something, over the course of the past year or so I've been on at least a dozen dates, and in almost every case, I paid the bill. Gladly paid the bill, I should say. I also held open the Jeep door for my dates. Because that's the way it should be. I was acting like a man, a proud strong man, and there was nothing toxic about it.


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